« السابقةمتابعة »
from full notes in which the skeleton of the speech was developed, and all statistical statements and quotations set down. He generally relied upon the moment for language and the construction of sentences; but occasionally, when he wished to make a passage especially strong and impressive, it was written out at full length. Hamilton wrote out the argument in the Croswell case beforehand, and then tore it up and spoke off-hand before the court; and Choate said that was the true way, thus implying that he did not commit to memory his written arguments.
Mr. Choate had a habit of study, which he did not confine to his law briefs, of bringing about him all the books connected with any given subject of investigation, and bringing them all to bear in enlightening his own understanding. This thoroughness of study characterized his whole life, and he nerer was known to sqnander time on useless investigation.
Rufus Choate is thus one of the great men to be studied : for his varied talents and diverse attainments in law, in literature, in statesmanship, as well as his genius as an advocate, place him among the few marvellous men of our time; and had he possessed a pure taste he would have long remained the Erskine of the American bar, in spite of the great claims of other advocates. Certainly Pinkney held the first place at the American bar thirty years before Choate became the great New England advocate, and nearly twenty after Wirt won his renown. Indeed, we may say that Choate's fame was mainly won at the Boston bar, as that of those eminent lawyers, O'Conor, Stonghton, Evarts and Brady, was at the bar of New York. Wirt, Pinkney, and Webster achieved their fame in this more famous tribunal upon great national causes in expounding the provisions of the Constitution and the sovereign claims of the particular states, while Choate gained his great fame as an advocate in local controversies. So Choate never had that great opportunity of an impeaching trial of a President to show his powers as an advocate, or a cause to display his great and solid attainments in constitutional law, and hence he was never seen by the nation at his true worth. In this sense we may say that he won as great a fame as a lawyer, with less opportunities than nearly all the great jurists who preceded him. It must be said that in the trial of a cause before a panel of twelve men he had no superior in this country. He united the calm convincing logic and acumen of O'Conor with the persuasive power of Hoffman, and it is not doubted that he possessed more general learning and accomplishments than almost any American advocate.
Choate laid his fame on that foundation so happily expressed by Bolingbroke when he pronounced in what way the great lawyer must rise to fame, and in which he said: “ There have been lawyers that were orators, philosophers, historians, there have been Bacons and Clarendons; there will be none such any more, till, in some better age, true ambition or love of fame prevails over avarice, and till men find leisure and encouragement to prepare themselves for the exercise of this profession by climbing up to the vantage-ground-so my Lord Bacon calls it—of science, instead of grovelling all their lives below in a mean but gainful application to all the little arts of chicanery. Till this happens the profession of the law will scarce deserve to be ranked among the learned professions ; and whenever it happens, one of the vantage-grounds to which men must climb is metaphysical and the other historical knowledge." Bolingbroke adds, “that they must pry into the secret recesses of the human heart and become well acquainted with the whole moral world, that they may discover the abstract reason of all laws; and they must trace the laws of particular states, especially of their own, from the first causes or occasions that produced them, through all the effects, good or bad, that they produced.”
Choate came up to this high standard except he confined his legal researches to the cominon law of England, and did not trace the civil laws which obtain in nearly all Europe, and which have grown out of Roman jurisprudence. Aside from this, he comprehended the needs of a higher professional life, and laid the foundations of his faine in jurisprudence, metaphysics, and historical knowledge. He studied every master in these departments of thought. Indeed, he went farther and comprehended all of value that was within his reach in ethics, poetry and oratory. IIis range was wide and thorough in English, Latin, and Greek literature; and he understood and read the French, German and IIebrew. His rule was to think of at least six synonyms before he wrote the word, and thus he came to possess the greatest range of expression, and improved his ample style. To this end he always wrote down what he could during a trial, that he might attain a perfect style of prose, and he often wrote out his law points in the same manner, though he was not so ill an artist as to venture to read his speeches. Choate threw avarice to the winds, and sought fame and renown in his profession. He laid his fame on the solid base of jurisprudence and in his attainments as a lawyer. But he did not esteem his knowledge and mastery of the law and all literature sufficient for the advocate. He early put himself in the most thorough training for advocacy, not only by forming his style of speaking, but he vehemently pursued the study of letters subordinated to law. He did not stop at rhetoric and logic in his system of preparation, for he practised rhetoric through a whole life as a critical study. He would take some anthor, and read a page aloud, but not noisily, in his room, struggling to accomplish two things—to get the whole feeling of every sentence, and to express it by his tones even more passionately than the author by his words; and also he labored to “get his throat open," as he expressed it. Edmund Burke he recommended for this exercise. He held manner of as much importance as matter, and hence elocution must be exacting, even the emphasis and the cadences are to be severely attended to. He held earnestness to be the first essential quality in delivery.
Mr. Choate, as we have said, did not bring his action to perfection, nor did his person at first inspire us with the majesty of his eloquence. He finally said that speeches should be pre-written that we may be sure that we get to the bottom of our subject, and that was the only sure way to master it, and that by this preparation we cannot break down, and thus we can know the precise relation of the whole to each part of the argument. IIe said that the speech should be well memorized, so that the matter would lie easily and fully in the mind for immediate use.
Such is but an imperfect outline of the character of Rufus Choate. He who won the most desperate causes in the arena of the forum refused to take the side of Dr. Webster, because he would not admit the killing of Dr. Parkman; and had this admission been made, trusting to the circumstances of provocation, Mr. Choate would have satisfied a jury that it was no murder, but the killing of a human being in the heat of passion. We allude to this to show that the great American advocate then at the bar declined to defend Dr. Webster upon his own grounds, and Dr. Webster was found guilty of murder. We take leave of Mr. Choate, by saying that he was genial and kind in all the relations of life, giving his advocacy to the poor and the destitute with no reference to the fee, and always maintained the kindest relations with the bench and bar. Besides, he was chivalrous in his love of country, and boldly discharged all his duties to it as a citizen.
big and Collegest the English la late Princi
Art. III.-1. A Manual of American Literature : A Text
book for Schools and Colleges. By John S. Hart, LL.D., Professor of Rhetoric and of the English Language and Literature in the College of New Jersey, and late Principal of the New Jersey State Normal School. 12mo.
pp. 641. Eldridge & Brother: Philadelphia. 1872. 2. A Manual of English Literature: A Text-book for Schools
and Colleges. By John S. Hart, LL, D., etc., etc.. etc.
12mo. pp. 636. Eldridge & Brother: Philadelphia. 1872. 3. A Hand-book of English Literature. Intended for the
Use of High Schools, as well as a Companion and Guide for
An author to whom the learned Porson had given some valuable literary assistance, said to him, “I wish to make you
a public acknowledgment in the next edition of my work." “I decline your offer,” said Porson ; " for you may say something in compliment to me that we may both be ashamed of ten years hence.”
It would be difficult to find two persons regarding themselves as public instructors more different from each other than Porson and Hart. If the latter, and scores of those whom he has eulogized in his “Manual of American Literature,” be not ashamed at this moment, it is because their stomachs are strong indeed. None possessed of any taste, not blinded by vanity, who accompany us for half an hour will deny this; for so full is the book of coarse, vulgar and ridiculous puffery, that had we not carefully examined it, we could not have believed that any sane man could offer such a bundle of fustian as “A Text-book for Schools and Col. leges.”
This, we are quite aware, must seem harsh on our part; but we have not the least disposition to give any needless pain either to the compiler or his publishers. Our readers are aware that there has scarcely been a number of our journal issued within the last three years without a criticism on some “ Reader," “Speaker," “ Elocutionist,” or “Manual,” which depended chiefly on its puffery of literary and educational nonentities for its success. We give Mr. Hart's book more prominence than the rest, not certainly because it deserves more consideration, but because it shows more effrontery and more of the trafficking, huckster-like spirit, and is more calculated to vitiate the taste of the young and thoughtless, by giving them false notions of literature.
According to Johnson, Webster, Worcester, Brande and Smart, literature is the “result of learning, knowledge and imagination preserved in writing.” These recognized authorities tell us that, as distinguished from science,“ literature comprehends languages, particularly Greek and Latin," etc. Hence, "the literati” means “the learned,” and “a literary man," “one of the literati.” But, according to Mr. Hart, all the correspondents as well as the editors of our village newspapers, all the manufacturers of Fourth of July orations—at least all who